Steven Greenhut

Steven Greenhut is a senior fellow and Western region director for the R Street Institute. His political views do not reflect the views of the institute.


Will Appeals Ruling Sober Up State’s Pension Abusers?


Sacramento California’s hardy band of pension reformers show many of the symptoms of “battered spouse syndrome.” No matter how often they are beaten and ridiculed, they cling to hope. Maybe this time, the state will get its act together and reform a system of profiteering that’s threatening our fiscal future. I’ve heard them say as […]

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Shock: Legislature Does Right Thing on a Liberty Issue!


Sacramento Our left-leaning Legislature isn’t exactly known for its commitment to protecting the constitutional liberties of the citizenry, which is an understatement of great magnitude. When I speak to civic groups about the state Capitol, I often refer to those “scared straight” programs where police take “at risk” youth to prisons to scare them away […]

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Trumping Trump: California Dems Push Ethnic Division


Sacramento Many of us in conservative and libertarian circles are appalled by some of Donald Trump’s ethnically tinged rhetoric. But it’s hard to take seriously those who criticize his divisiveness if they don’t at least acknowledge that the political left keeps playing the same dangerous game. That’s particularly true in California, where Democratic legislators have […]

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Direct Democracy: California’s Last Hope?


Sacramento One of the most far-reaching ideas advanced by 20th century progressives was the reemergence of direct democracy. And no state has taken the idea further than California. In 1911, Gov. Hiram Johnson led changes to the state Constitution to include the initiative, the referendum, and the recall. These tools, he believed, would let voters […]

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Parks in Disarray: An Allegory for California


Sacramento Many of us who stay in California do so in part because of its beauty. As friends and neighbors plot moves to lower-tax, lower-regulation and higher-sanity places such as Nevada or Tennessee, we bitter-enders console ourselves. We’ve got Yosemite, the sequoias, Mount Shasta, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and the rugged coastline. Sure, the social […]

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Unions Are Root Cause of Policing Problems


Even before the chilling murders of police officers in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and Kansas City, most conservatives had been rallying around the “boys in blue,” defending law enforcement against allegations it is racially biased and abusive and fearing a new “war on cops.” It’s hard not to feel sympathy for the cause of “law and […]

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Californians Getting Their Democracy ‘Good and Hard’


Sacramento As we roll toward the November ballot, I’m reminded of H.L. Mencken’s quip that “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” We always get it “good and hard” in California given the ever-expanding one-party rule. The worse it gets, the more […]

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Another Revolting Attack on Our Liberties


Sacramento During a recent stroll around the west steps of the state Capitol, I eyed a group of “Yes California Independence Campaign” handing out the state flag. The flag contains a wonderful image of a bear that harkens back to the 1846 “Bear Flag Revolt,” when residents of Alta California declared themselves independent of Mexico […]

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Crumbling Roads? Let’s Build Bike Lanes!


In his State of the State address earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown pointed to California’s deferred infrastructure maintenance as “staggering” and put the price tag for repairs at $77 billion. One would be hard-pressed to find any policymaker from either party who doesn’t see the state’s crumbling and inadequate infrastructure as a crisis, although […]

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Even Booming Bay Area Sees an Exodus


When asked whether he wanted to have dinner at a particular restaurant, Yogi Berra famously quipped, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” It’s easy to apply that contradictory concept to a recent poll showing more than a third of San Francisco Bay Area residents want to move out of the area in the next […]

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